German politics in 1924-1929, was made up:
- President Hindenburg
- Liberal Parties
- The SPD
- The Centre Party
- The DNVP
- Limitations of the political system.
Coalitions of German politics
The Coalitions that were workable were limited:
- Coalitions were one of the problems created by proportional representation.
- It was impossible for a coalition to be formed by the SPD and DNVP because they were completely different parties, on different ends of the spectrum:
- The SPD wanted democracy, whereas the DNVP rejected the Weimar Republic.
- The KPD remained isolated.
- Right-centre coalitions tended to agree on domestic issues.
- However, they disagreed on foreign affairs.
- Whereas, broad coalitions, such as the SPD, DDP and DVP, tended to agree on foreign affairs.
- However, they disagreed on domestic issues, making things difficult.
- The thought of democratic govts gaining stability was a very little chance of coming true.
- Only 2 coalitions managed majorities.
- The longest lasting coalition govt, only lasted 21 months.
President Hindenburg became president following the unexpected death of Ebert in 1925. This is when political problems were created:
- The election was close with 3 candidates, who didn't reach a majority vote.
- Despite this, Hindenburg was elected with 48% of the vote.
- (Wilhelm Marx only recieved 45%, whilst Ernst Thalmann only recieved 6%).
- There was no immediate move to the right, even though Hindenburg was part of the DNVP.
- He showed loyalty to the constitution.
- However, he had a lack of sympathy for the values of the Republic.
- He also preferred to exclude the SPD.
The Liberal Parties
Liberal Parties did not hold strong positions in German Politics:
- The DDP and DVP joined all coalitions, and the DVP leader (STRESEMAN) proved to be the only capable Chancellor.
- However, their share of the vote was halved since 1920.
- They collapsed after 1930 because:
- Both the DVP and DDP were internally divided.
- The DDP lacked clear leadership.
The Social Democrat Party (SPD) remained:
- the largest party in the Reichstag until 1932.
- Some members of the SPD feared that their principles would be weakened by joining coalitions.
- However, the party was hindered by the argument between committed and extreme left wing socialists, and the moderate gradual reformists.
- As a result, the SPD did not join any coalitions that would weaken their power.
The Centre Party
The Centre Party (Catholic):
- It provided most of the leadership within Weimar.
- It participated in all coalitions.
- However, the party's support was restricted to traditional Catholic areas, which lead to internal divides.
- They were led by left wingers, Matthias Erzberger and Josef Wirth, in the early years.
- This changed in the 1920s, as they decisively moved to the right.
- As a result, they helped to appeal to more conservation coalitions.
- Had been totally against the Weimar Republic, since 1919.
- They also refused to take part in govt, despite the 103 seats they had in the Reichstag.
- However, after the 1923 crisis, their aim of restoring right wing govt was decreasing.
- As a result, they joined coalitions in 1925-1927.
- However, their policies were not popular with all their internal groups.
- For example, the extreme right wingers asserted their influence.
- This led to the group reverting back to it's programme of total opposition.
- In addition, the DNVP worked closely with the Nazis around this time.
Limitations of the Political System
The political system in Germany, however, had its limitations:
- It failed to make any progress and coped as best as it could.
- There were growing cynicism towards politics was shown by people towards party politics.
- In the 1920s, there was a decline in voter turnout.
- There was an increase in unstable and extreme fringe-parties.
- Parties did not cooperate well.